Attention called to elder abuse

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, June 9, 2011

Probate Judge Bobby Martin signed a proclamation declaring Wednesday, June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and encouraging all citizens to raise awareness. In the photo: Martin; Beth Robinson, Chilton County DHR; Dayla Hamilton, Alabama Department of Public Health; Judy Dean, Chilton Medical Center; Charlie Morris, Chilton Medical Center; Tim Bryant, MidSouth Home Health; Tabitha Akers, HealthSprings, Amy Daniels, Hatley Health Care; Carol Rolling, Alacare Home Health; Billie Robinson, Chilton County DHR; Patty Drake, Chilton County DHR; Ashley McGee, Middle Alabama Area on Aging; Cathy Stephens, Chilton County DHR; Beverly Morgan, SunCrest Health.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of older Americans are abused, neglected and exploited. The problem has struck a chord in Alabama and the rest of the nation.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day will be observed on Wednesday, June 15.

Elders lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care. In addition, elder abuse is estimated to cost Americans $60 to $90 billion annually in health care, social services and investigative and legal costs.

No one is immune to abuse, neglect and exploitation. It occurs in every demographic group and can happen to anyone; a family member, neighbor, and even you. However, on June 15, 2011, “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day,” the entire world will focus on this crime which often goes undiscovered and unreported, and draw attention to the mistreatment of the elderly.

Marilyn Colson, Director of the Chilton County Department of Human Resources said the observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 focuses on a problem that is frequently overshadowed by other societal ills “because the elderly don’t always receive the care and attention that they need, they are primary targets for abuse, neglect and exploitation.  Sadly, in many cases, the victims’ own family members are the perpetrators, which can make investigating the reports an arduous task.  No matter how difficult the challenge, with the help of our community partners, our Adult Protective Services workers investigate reports and arrange protection, because of their commitment to ensuring the safety and well being of the elderly,” Colson said.

In Fiscal Year 2010, the Alabama Department of Human Resources investigated approximately 5.312 adult protective service referrals. About half of these involved reports of suspected abuse or neglect of persons who were at least 60 years old; in fact, most of them ranged from 75 to 84 years of age.

Billie Robinson, Chilton County’s Adult Protective Service workers asked the community to “please help us protect our vulnerable elderly citizens who have contributed so much to our community.”

Call Chilton County DHR at 205-280-2000 to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation.  Reports may also be made toll free to 1-800-458-7214 or by email to All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously. “Your call may make a real difference in the life of one of your neighbors,” Robinson noted.